Our voice of business this month is:
Anthony Sowden, Director of Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone
The Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone is providing an enormous boost to help Buckinghamshire grow our existing businesses and attract and accelerate new investment at our three strategically important sites and in key business sectors for Buckinghamshire.
The Enterprise Zone aligns directly with Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan, which identifies Silverstone Park, Westcott Venture Park and Arla/Woodlands as three key employment locations all of which have greater, untapped potential to add value to the high performance technology/motorsport; space propulsion/environmental engineering; and agri-food/human health sectors.
The combined sites secured operational Enterprise Zone status from April 2016 and the 25 year Enterprise Zone designation (to 2041) covers almost 100ha of commercial development land with potential to create 300,000m2 of new business floor space and accommodate over 5,600 new jobs.
New Enterprise Zone businesses occupying premises before April 2021 may benefit from up to £55,000 per annum business rates relief for a maximum five year period (total £275,000). Retained Business Rates generated over the 25 year Enterprise Zone lifespan (currently estimated at £130m) will be reinvested into the sites as a priority, and beyond this into other essential local strategic infrastructure.
After two years of operation Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone has scored some notable successes across the three sites, these included:
- 11,625m2 new floor space completed, generating £0.34m pa business rates for reinvestment and attracting high performance technology/motorsport businesses, including: David Brown Automotive, Baumot UK, MLL and Virgin Racing;
- £5m Utilities infrastructure to support Enterprise Zone development, funded via retained business rates.
- £8m public sector funding secured to support infrastructure and space/satellite related applications initiatives, including: the National Space Propulsion Test Facility, Satellite Applications Catapult 5G, Incubation and Innovation Centres;
- Construction of Reaction Engines SABRE Rocket test facility;
- Establishment of a ‘Space Cluster’ Co-ordination Board to collectively seek out new opportunities for collaboration and investment at Westcott and the wider area.
- Promoting a major mixed use planning application to the point of outline planning consent for up to 102,000m2 of Enterprise Zone employment floor space, 1,100 new homes and strategic highways infrastructure for Aylesbury;
- Reserved matters planning consent for 53,000m2 of Enterprise Zone employment floor space secured.
The scale and specialised nature of the development, the mix of uses and the highly strategic position, at the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle’ and at the centre of the ‘Oxford to Cambridge Arc’ enables Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone to challenge internationally as a major new employment location over the coming years.
For more information on the Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone please visit: www.aylesburyvaleez.co.uk